– Case Study –

True Brands & SPS Commerce: A Success Story

  • Customer Type:
    Supplier
  • Industry:
    General Merchandise
  • Headquarters:
    Seattle, WA
  • SPS Product:
    Fulfillment
  • ERP:
    Oracle NetSuite
  • Network Member Since:
    2015

Executive Summary

Savvy suppliers like True Brands, know doing EDI with its retail partners is not just about compliance, it’s a way to gain favor and more business. With a corporate initiative to eliminate data entry and an ERP switch to Oracle NetSuite, True Brands reached out to SPS Commerce to better support their retailers’ requirements and connect in days, not months. The automated solution provides hands-free order fulfillment for all Walmart orders and scales to support the company’s double-digit growth.

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The Challenge:

Support growing business with confidence, do away with data entry.

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The Solution:

Automate fulfillment with 70+ retailers and a 3PL.

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The Results:

Eliminate the need for a new hire, live with new retailers in 4-5 days.

True Brands is a leading designer and supplier of beverage lifestyle accessories worldwide. Founded in 2003 with a single wine bag, their innovative team has expanded its product line to span every sector of the beverage industry. Their brands include true, Host, Twine, Viski, Foster & Rye, Blush, true Zoo, Pinky Up, Cakewalk and Collins, which are sold online and in-store by leading beverage, home décor and novelty retailers.

Handling Complexity

True Brands was using another EDI provider but faced three major challenges, the first being a growing number of retailers. “Each new partner would require a new map to be built that often took four or more months to complete. With SPS Fulfillment, we are live with new retailers in four to five days,” said Matt Oak, Senior IT Administrator at True Brands.

Second, was the potential cost of adding more internal resources. True Brands has a small IT team with many expectations, only one of which is EDI. “Our former EDI technology required a full-time technical resource that was going to require a six-figure salary in our market. This was not worth the investment and by switching to SPS we didn’t need to hire staff,” said Oak.

Lastly, the EDI company that was supporting True Brands at that time, failed the EDI testing process with several of their major retail customers. Meeting the complexities of any retailer’s trading requirements is fundamental to the partnership’s success. In 2015, True Brands made the switch to SPS Commerce Fulfillment to resolve these issues, cut data entry, and prepare for future growth.

Eliminating Data Entry

True Brands’ leadership issued a strong directive to cut data entry to improve accuracy and clarity. They had a staff of six FTEs in sales operations tasked with entering orders. Each order would take approximately five minutes to enter, and with their new drop ship business growing, they were receiving more than 80 orders per day per retailer. Their teams quickly become overloaded with their manual processes leaving room for mistakes.

The SPS solution eliminated this manual step by connecting with Oracle NetSuite, allowing orders and other documents to flow automatically to and from True Brands retail customers. With this automation, their sales operations team has been reduced, freeing up several staff members to focus on other operations such as updating customer data, confirming shipping data and more.

“We were receiving more than 600 orders per month in 2018,” said Oak. “If we were manually entering these orders we’d have drowned just keeping up, especially during our busy season from August through December. One of our core values is to be customer-oriented. This means that if we agree to fulfill an order in 48 hours, we do it. Automating allows us to improve our internal operations and know that we can meet our customers’ expectations.”

Embracing Drop Ship

True Brands’ drop ship program took off in 2018 with e-commerce leaders such as Walmart.com and Wayfair, as well as marketplaces including Amazon. True Brands’ leadership was enthusiastic about this model but wary of the increasing order volumes associated with its success. The SPS solution eliminated this manual step by connecting to their Oracle NetSuite solution, allowing orders and other documents to flow automatically to and from their retailers.

“For drop ship, we are learning as we go,” said Oak. “This is a high-maintenance model that requires branded packing slips, return documents, tracking numbers on invoices, blind packaging and more. With SPS, the labeling and documentation for these shipments are done automatically. Their expertise in this area has fast-tracked our ability to service this business.”

Hands-free Walmart Order Fulfillment

True Brands added a third-party logistics provider (3PL) to their fulfillment process to manage two of their most challenging areas: the Walmart brick and mortar business and their consumables product line of mixers. They notified SPS Commerce of the addition in January, and the 3PL was online and receiving True Brands orders in February.

“By partnering with SPS Commerce and our 3PL we don’t have to touch anything for our Walmart orders. That is more than $5 million a year in orders that we don’t have to lift a finger to fulfill,” said Oak.

Reducing Chargebacks

Retailers apply fees to vendors that don’t comply with their trading requirements, such as inaccurate or incomplete shipping notice information. Chargebacks can be costly for suppliers, but True Brands has reduced chargebacks since automating its fulfillment process with SPS Commerce. Today, their operations have reduced keying errors and ensure all transactions are complete.

“Retailers would contact us months after a shipment with a chargeback,” continued Oak. “We had no way to chase down the breadcrumbs of all the activities associated with these orders, so we often had to pay the fee without knowing whether or not we had erred. Today, we can challenge a chargeback with transaction data provided by the SPS Commerce solution regardless of when it shipped.”

Ready for Future Growth

With order volumes increasing 25 percent or more each month, scalability is critical to True Brands. As they bring on new retailers in North America and from Amazon Europe, they rely on SPS Commerce to manage growing order volumes and their breadth of partnerships. “With SPS in our back pocket, we are confident in our ability to support our business as it grows,” said Oak.

In 2015, True Brands had only 28 EDI partners. Today, True Brands uses SPS Commerce to connect with more than 70 retailers, distributors, and a 3PL, and continues to grow.

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